when i was young i was full of fire
wild women were my desire
to buy them flowers and perfume
night after night i played with doom
but i was not always so wild
before that i was god's child
and i stood in the shadow of the steeple
in the fleeting shadow of the steeple
reverend mason, the mildest of men
told me when i was only ten
that god had marked me for his own
and my soul would never turn to stone
the light that falls through schoolhouse walls
is the light through which eternity crawls
i had no thought of other fate
what could i but sit and wait?
my mother was a woman good
and always did the best she could
her eyeballs had a hunted look
through the smoke of all the meals she cooked
my father wore a hat of gray
and never had very much to say
his posture was a little slack
he went to work and always came back
but madness bubbled in my brain
and violence whistled through my veins
through walls and windows closed so tight
i heard the call of laughing night
the night - a dark and throbbing ocean
but floating in perpetual motion
upon is surface - old town square
the playground of the brave and fair
where swaggering dudes and slinky dames
with reputations and magic names
a hundred stories in each face
defied the law-abiding human race
the night on which my life began
and i decided to be a man
out the window and down the tree
nothing on earth was stopping me
there on the corner, the very first
was harry jensen, the worst of the worst
and johnny black, the coolest of the cool
i walked right into them like a fool
i halted my progress none too soon
beneath the full and smiling moon
johnny turned, as smooth as ice
his voice was soft as clicking dice
"kid, you're out a little late"
into his eyes i looked quite straight
"i'm on my way to do a job"
harry horselaughed - the stupid slob
the laugh seared through me like a knife
he was my enemy for life
we might pull jobs together, yet
deep down i never would forget
but johnny's gaze was cool and gray
i stood and did not look away
"that's very interesting", he said
"we were going home to bed"
"and i still am" said harry rudely
but johnny turned on him quite moodily
"you never know what we might find
tell us, kid, what's on your mind"
these guys didn't look so tough
in innocence i tried a bluff
"why should i let you in on this?
this job's a snap - it just can't miss."
"have it your way", johnny said
as harry yawned and scratched his head
"and yet i find it kind of hard
you couldn't use a man on guard"
"why don't you let us come along?
if it's as easy as a song
no need to split the take with us
i'm just a little curious."
harry laughed again - the jerk
one day i'd make of him short work
"go on." he said, it's not my game
i've got a date with a swell dame,"
"dame. dame," - at just the word
my heart hammered and my eyeballs blurred
then swift as lightning in the rain
a plan jumped full into my brain